May and June see lots of clean-up work as people on the mountain make sure their homes meet fire safety codes and are ready for inspection.

For those of us sensitive to fire issues, it’s great to see people removing the leaves, needles, and branches that fell during the winter, taking out the occasional dead tree, and cutting the weeds that have been growing since the weather turned warm. Most people who live or own property here understand the importance of this activity and attend to it regularly, knowing it is necessary for their own safety, as well as the community in general.

Some are less regular but still do it when they are reminded, or see what their neighbors are doing. Some are delayed by circumstance — illness, emergencies, travel — but get around to it when they are able. Most people know they should do it and don’t let it go late into summer.

So all in all, most people on the mountain make their properties fire safe. They understand why it is necessary. They know we live on a mountain surrounded by a large, dry forest, and that large, destructive fires are endemic to southern California. They know that over the last decade we have had terrible fires close by.

They know that whether houses are destroyed in fires depends to a large extent on the vegetation surrounding the house. They know that raking their needles and removing the deadwood won’t guarantee that their house will survive a large wildland fire, but they know it increases their chances.

They also know their property looks better without the forest detritus (most of us like parks). They also know that heavy vegetative screens, like a thick wall of manzanita or cedar trees, in addition to being a fire hazard, may provide privacy, but can also hide burglars. They know that a lot of pests and animals can hide in thick cover, and while we all love to see a deer now and then, we really don’t want a lot of animals and insects setting up shop next to our house.

Most people on the mountain know the dangers of strong wind in a forest, and very much like to not have dead trees